Background: This study reviews the efficacy of vacuum-assisted wound closure (VAWC) to obtain primary fascial closure of open abdomens after severe trauma.
Methods: The study population included shock resuscitation patients who had open abdomens treated with VAWC. The VAWC dressing was changed at 2- to 3-day intervals and downsized as fascial closure was completed with interrupted suture. The Trauma Research Database and the medical records were reviewed for pertinent data.
Results: Over 26 months, 35 patients with open abdomens were managed by VAWC. Six died early, leaving 29 patients who were discharged. Of these, 25 (86%) were successfully closed using VAWC at a mean of 7 +/- 1 days (range, 3-18 days). Of the four patients that failed VAWC, two developed fistulas. No patients developed evisceration, intra-abdominal abscess, or wound infection.
Conclusion: VAWC achieved early fascial closure in a high percentage of open abdomens, with an acceptable rate of complications.